How the Highland Park shooter temporarily escaped, a first-person account of the tragic scene and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Local, State and Federal police work the scene where 6 people were shot and killed and at least 2 dozen others were injured in a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park yesterday.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will see showers and thunderstorms with a high near 92 degrees and heat index values as high as 110. Similar weather will continue into tonight with heavy rainfall and a low near 70. A heat advisory is in effect until 8 p.m. tonight. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of thunderstorms and a high near 78.

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Afternoon Edition
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Top story

Highland Park parade shooter disguised himself in women’s clothes, planned for weeks: police

Bobby Crimo disguised himself in women’s clothes and fired more than 70 rounds from a rooftop into the Independence Day Parade in Highland Park before blending into the chaotic crowd and escaping the scene, police said today.

Crimo, 21, exited the roof of a downtown business by using a fire escape ladder, dropped his AR-15-style rifle and walked to the nearby home of his mother, according to Christopher Covelli of the Lake County sheriff’s office and the Lake County major crimes task force.

Crimo, who may have even used a wig to cover his face tattoos, then borrowed his mother’s car, which was later pulled over by police, which led to Crimo’s arrest.

There’s no indication Crimo told his mother anything about the attack, Covelli said this morning at a news conference.

Seven people were killed in the attack and more than 30 were wounded, Covelli said.

“At this point, we have not developed a motive for him,” Covelli said.

Investigators “have been in discussions with him,” Covelli said.

The weapon used in the attack was purchased legally in the Chicago area, he said. ATF agents ran an expedited trace on the weapon, which led them to Crimo, Covelli said. When he was arrested, Crimo was in possession of a second high-powered rifle that he purchased legally from a different Chicago-area store, Covelli said.

Authorities said they didn’t have any information the attack targeted anyone by race or religion.

“We do believe Crimo preplanned this attack for several weeks,” Covelli said, noting that authorities are working on criminal charges.

Mitch Dudek has more on the developing information from yesterday’s tragedy here.

More news you need

  1. In her first-person account of the tragedy that unfolded during the parade, our Lynn Sweet describes watching the parade — and when everything changed. Sweet also explains how she has been reporting on gun massacres for years. “But always from a distance. I wasn’t there when the killing happened. Until this July Fourth. When I was.”
  2. A Jewish security group said today that, after seeing photos of Crimo following yesterday’s massacre, a Highland Park rabbi “recognized him” as the man turned away from a Passover service at his synagogue in April. While Highland Park has a large Jewish population, Secure Community Network head Michael Masters said his organization hasn’t found any information to make him think the motivation for the shootings was antisemitism.
  3. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill. today touted the passage of the most sweeping federal gun safety legislation in 30 years. Yet, after a reporter asked if any of the safeguards would have prevented yesterday’s shooting in Highland Park, Lightfoot and Kelly did not know, our Fran Spielman reports.
  4. Republican nominee for governor Darren Bailey has apologized for telling residents in a live-stream video to “move on” from the shooting 90 minutes after the horrific attack unfolded — and more than six hours before Crimo was arrested. Mitchell Armentrout has more on the fallout of Bailey’s comments here.
  5. A 5-year-old boy standing in the backyard of his Humboldt Park home was hit in the right shoulder by a bullet that apparently had been fired into the sky last night. He was in the backyard when he was hit around 10:10 p.m., and after being taken to the hospital, he is in good condition, police said.
  6. A Park Ridge family says their 14-year-old son was pinned to the sidewalk, a knee pressed against his back, by an off-duty Chicago police officer who thought the boy had stolen his son’s bicycle. The teen’s mother said she believes the incident last Friday was racially motivated — as her son is of Puerto Rican descent and the officer is white.
  7. A long-vacant, two-story former Lake Meadows professional building at 31st Street and Rhodes Avenue in Bronzeville is set to come alive again in early 2023 as office space for the Howard Brown health organization. In his latest column, our Lee Bey explains how the building’s rebirth is a good sign for efforts to preserve the wealth of unsung modernist architecture in Chicago’s neighborhoods.
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A bright one

In her new revue, Felicia P. Fields reminds us why the blues — and she — are cultural treasures

The world-premiere musical revue at Glencoe’s Writers Theatre carries the subtitle, “A Night with Felicia P. Fields.” A night with Felicia P. Fields is a night worth having, writes Kris Vire in his review for the Sun-Times.

The Chicago-bred performer has been a favorite presence on the city’s stages for decades, putting her big voice and considerable comic chops to scene-stealing use at theaters ranging from the Goodman, Court, and Chicago Shakespeare to suburban musical factories like Marriott and Drury Lane. And, famously, Fields earned a Tony Award nomination in her first (and to date, only) trip to Broadway, in the original 2005 production of “The Color Purple.”

At Writers, where she previously played the titular blues singer in a 2019 staging of August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Fields is now performing as herself. (If you’re wondering who this “Pearl” character is, well, now you know what the “P.” stands for in “Felicia P. Fields.”)

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Felicia P. Fields is showcasing blues and a touch of gospel in her world-premiere revue “Pearl’s Rollin’ With the Blues: A Night with Felicia P. Fields” at Writers Theatre.

Michael Brosilow

Fields reminds us from the start that the blues don’t always have to be sad. Promising a good time is in store, she playfully encourages the audience to “let your hair down,” then with a shrug suggests “take your hair off,” before launching into the Willie Dixon party-starter “Wang Dang Doodle.”

The show’s set list, shaped by Fields and director Ron OJ Parson (they’re credited as co-creators), leans heavily in its first half toward the blues’ bawdier, entendre-laced side. Fields follows up “Wang Dang” with Dixon’s “Built for Comfort” (“I’m built for comfort, I ain’t built for speed / but I got everything a good man needs”) and Lil Johnson’s “My Stove’s in Good Condition.”

On the promise of a good time, though, Fields and her terrific band — including Frank Menzies on keys, Julie Poncé on bass, Harold Morrison on drums, and Ricardo Jimenez on trumpet — absolutely deliver. They’re highlighting the joyful mood of the blues (with a touch of gospel for inspirational good measure); why not roll with it?

Vire has more on Fields’ show here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What’s something bringing you comfort during these unsettling times?

Send us an email at newsletters@suntimes.com and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

On Friday, we asked you: What’s the key to a perfect BBQ?

Here’s what some of you said…

“The key to a good BBQ is good cooks, good music and good company.” —Joy CN

“Seasoning your food.” —Kimyonna Adams

“All the charcoal has to be lit and distributed equally! No stacks— if there are stacks, that food cooks faster.” — Phyllis Barnes-Wright

“Slow and low, and only use hardwood with the indirect heat.” —Michael Thompson

“Baked Beans with bacon and jalapeños.” —Georgia Doane-Thomas

“Slow and easy tender love and care. Patience.” —Tony Stone

“It’s all about the seasoning. Most importantly, cooked with love!” —Regina Allen

“Good music, food, dranks and peace and harmony.” — Licia Johnson

“Marinating your food. It enhances the taste.” —Michael Woods

“Family and close friends gathering to laugh, enjoy and get a helping of some very tasty vittles.” —Nick Vitone

“Somebody else cooking it. Y’all let me know when you’re cooking!” —Chris Manuel

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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